How Do Character Meet and Greets Currently Work on Disney Cruise Line?

One night during my recent Halloween on the High Seas cruise on the Disney Dream, I had some time to kill between the Disney’s Believe show which is performed in the Walt Disney Theatre, and our late seating for dinner so I decided to sit in the ship’s atrium and watch passengers who were all dressed up in their Halloween costumes and taking photos. If you’ve never done this, I highly recommend it!

As I was sitting there, several crew members began positioning velvet rope dividers in front of the Royal Palace restaurant along with carefully placing marker dots on the floors. Soon after the setup was complete, four Disney Princesses arrived and stood on the special Mickey dots that were placed for them. Guests were taking photos in front of the Pumpkin Tree while the setup was happening and then headed over to the Princesses next where they could come within six feet or so of each one. I only observed three guests in each line at the most during the 45-minutes or so that I was sitting there.

Friends, this was so fun to sit and watch as the interactions were completely adorable. I love how the physically-distanced way of greeting characters has changed the way these interactions take place now. Guests were chatting with the Princesses about their costumes, their movies, and anything else they may have brought up, but the way photos were being captured was honestly one of my favorite things to observe.

See, those of us who have been visiting Disney theme parks or going on Disney cruises for years have the same types of character photos of our kids year after year. They get their hugs and then typically pose for the pictures while someone else takes the shot. With the amount of space between the guest and the character now, it has created new ways to take the photos and the best part, in my opinion, is that they look more different now than they ever have before which is super fun!

While my kiddos are well out of the “posing with Disney characters for photos” stage, I truly enjoyed watching other kids’ joy as they interacted with each of the Disney Princesses in the atrium that night as they were so enamored by the whole experience. Literally, the only thing missing from the new physically-distanced interaction is a hug – the actual physical touching. Don’t worry, I miss the hugs too. Here’s the thing, though. Adults know it’s missing but the younger kids do not. They are just so excited to be there and if the adults let it be and don’t tell their kids that something is missing, they won’t know and will just enjoy the moment. Plus, who really wants to be touching random people anymore anyway?

The face characters were one thing, but the non-speaking characters like Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, and others have also changed how they interact with passengers on the ship. They would randomly appear in the atrium in different spots that were viewable to all. I especially loved how Goofy interacted with everyone in the atrium but he’d also make sure to address individual guests in his own adorable way – like when a small child would see him appear out of nowhere, he noticed and would start jumping up and down along with the little one to show his excitement. It was seriously the cutest thing ever! Since these types of characters don’t actually speak, their body language did the speaking and it was as cute as can be. Friends, when I tell you that you are not missing anything and to please try and let go of the old way of character greetings, I’m really not kidding – this new type of fun is just the coolest when you let the magic happen!

The characters even got to disembark the ship at Castaway Cay to play with guests as they made their way over to the spots that were set up for them along the walking path. I especially loved how Donald Duck and Goofy had their cute little beach scene all set up for a day of fun!

If you’re heading out on a Disney cruise real soon, I recommend that you focus on soaking in the magic of this new way of interacting with the characters and enjoy the new style of photographic memories you’ll have!

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